K4Health Launches New Reproductive Health in Humanitarian Settings Toolkit on World Humanitarian Day

K4Health Highlights

Elizabeth Futrell

(Formerly) CCP | Content Development Lead
Displaced woman and child in DR Congo

A woman displaced by fighting between forces of rebel Tutsi General Laurent Nkunda and the Congolese government takes refuge in a church and adjacent school in the Goma neighborhood of Musawato, Democratic Republic of the Congo, where she plays with one of her children. A quarter of a million people have been newly displaced by fighting in the eastern Congo, where some 5.4 million have died since 1998 from war-related violence, hunger and disease.

© 2008 Paul Jeffrey, Courtesy of Photoshare

Every day, humanitarian workers labor tirelessly in extremely difficult conditions to help millions of people affected by conflict, natural disaster, and other emergencies around the world. World Humanitarian Day, celebrated on August 19, was established by the United Nations in 2008 to recognize the many aid workers who risk their lives to care for others during times of crisis.

K4Health is proud to mark World Humanitarian Day 2013 with the launch of the new Reproductive Health in Humanitarian Settings Toolkit. This Toolkit provides donors, decision makers, program managers, health service providers, including emergency workers, and communications professionals, with a carefully selected collection of state-of-the-art resources and tools for delivering reproductive health and related services in challenging post-disaster and conflict settings.

When a devastating earthquake struck Haiti near Port-au-Prince in January 2010, many governments and organizations around the world responded to the country’s appeals for humanitarian assistance. K4Health answered the call by rapidly developing the Haiti Relief Toolkit, an online collection of general disaster relief guidelines and tools, up-to-the-minute Haiti-specific information, and real-time knowledge-sharing mechanisms for concerned family and friends overseas and relief workers on the ground. In the weeks following the Toolkit’s launch, K4Health received more than 50 posts on the Toolkit’s discussion board suggesting additional resources, requesting information on additional topics, and providing feedback about the Toolkit.

A family forced to migrate due to US attacks on Bajur arrives in Rawalpindi, Pakistan

A family forced to migrate due to US attacks on Bajur arrives in Rawalpindi, Pakistan.

© 2008 Khalid Mahmood Raja, Courtesy of Photoshare

Months later when Pakistan was decimated by severe flooding during the monsoon season, K4Health promptly created a Pakistan Relief Toolkit that offered a similar range of general emergency management resources, Pakistan-specific information, and a wealth of guidance and tools related to flood-specific health challenges including safe drinking water and water-borne illness.

As time passed, the need for these two particular Toolkits waned. Yet with much of the developing world mired in conflict, and with continued natural disasters a certainty worldwide, K4Health sensed the need for a more general Toolkit to address the many health challenges that arise in humanitarian settings.

What does the Reproductive Health in Humanitarian Settings Toolkit offer?

  • Guidelines and tools for reproductive health service delivery in humanitarian settings.
  • Information on integrating family planning services into emergency management structures.
  • Resources on providing maternal and child health care for people in crisis.
  • Tools for HIV prevention and treatment in humanitarian settings.
  • Guidance on addressing the unique reproductive health needs of displaced young people.
  • Gender considerations that should be incorporated into all disaster management programming, including reproductive health and related services.
  • Guidance on preventing and addressing gender-based violence, a common threat in humanitarian settings.
  • Links to key humanitarian organizations with vast experience and expertise in health services provision in emergency situations.

As of 2011, an estimated 43 million people worldwide were considered forcibly displaced as a result of conflict or persecution; women and girls comprise half of this population. Ensuring access to reproductive health care and related services in humanitarian settings is a cost effective, life saving strategy that can advance post-crisis recovery, development, and economic stability; prevent maternal and infant morbidity and mortality; curb the spread of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections, and much more.

Visit the Reproductive Health in Humanitarian Settings Toolkit.



The toolkit surely makes humanitarian goals much easier to accomplish even under difficult conditions. Guidance and tools in this kit are very helpful in addressing the growing concern on reproductive health in third world countries.